BRADENTON, Fla. -- The entire nation stared at the sky for hours Monday. Thousands of people drove countless hours to see a spectacle that few living souls had witnessed.

Bob Judd and his wife, Pat, made the journey from their apartment in Bradenton to Columbia, South Carolina, to witness the once-in-a-lifetime event.

“It was incredible,” she said. “It was very incredible.”

The total solar eclipse crossed the United States for the first time in 99 years, and Bob Judd didn’t want to miss it.

“It puts the 'awe' in 'awesome,'” he said while showing off a few photos he took during the moments when the moon blotted out the sun above his vantage point in Columbia. “I think everybody went, 'Ooh.'”

Nearly a half century ago, Bob Judd was invited by his brother-in-law to go see a partial eclipse but couldn’t make it because of his work obligations. After hearing about how spectacular that 1960s event was to see, he set a goal to view another eclipse one day.

For a life-long science fan, Monday’s amazing display of beautiful was worth the wait and challenging to describe.

“It was a real ‘wow’ event,” he said. “Just before it disappears they get what they call a diamond on it. They get this flash of white light. It was pretty spectacular.”

Bob turned 80 on Aug. 16 and wanted something very specific for his birthday. He wanted to see something that is a once in a lifetime event.

Thanks to Wish of A Lifetime, it happened.

In 2010, Brookdale Senior Living, where the Judds live, and Wish of a Lifetime formed a partnership to provide a helping hand in making some of the dreams of Brookdale’s residents come true. To request a Wish, residents fill out a Wish application explaining an experience they would like to have fulfilled

Since the partnership’s inception, more than 800 Brookdale seniors have had their Wish granted.

It was a perfect birthday present for the Judd family. Bob and Pat met their daughter, Jeannie Judd, and granddaughter, Samantha Evans, in South Carolina.

“You can see there were bursts of color around the edge like a gem,” said Pat.

Another total solar eclipse is expected in seven years.

“It’s something that will only happen infrequently in your lifetime,” said Bob.

About Wish of a Lifetime

Wish of a Lifetime™ fosters respect and appreciation for deserving seniors by fulfilling their life-enriching Wishes. Founded in 2008 by two-time Olympic skier, World Cup gold medalist, entrepreneur, and former NFL football player Jeremy Bloom in living honor of his grandmother, Wish of a Lifetime has made over 1,000 Wishes come true for seniors in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The organization aims to create a positive shift in the way society views and values aging by sharing the stories of its inspiring Wish recipients with those of all generations. After experiencing a wish, 93 percent of Wish recipients stated they felt their quality of life improved and 76 percent said they felt their overall health improved. To learn more about the organization or to help fulfill a senior’s Wish visit

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